Donald R. McClarey

Cradle Catholic. Active in the pro-life movement since 1973. Father of three and happily married for 26 years. Small town lawyer. President of the board of directors of the local crisis pregnancy center.

Quotes Suitable For Framing: Theodore Roosevelt

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When home ties are loosened; when men and women cease to regard a worthy family life, with all its duties fully performed, and all its responsibilities lived up to, as the life best worth living; then evil days for the commonwealth are at hand. There are regions in our land, and classes of our population, where the birth rate has sunk below the death rate. Surely it should need no demonstration to show that wilful sterility is, from the standpoint of the nation, from the standpoint of the human race, the one sin for which the penalty is national death, race death; a sin for which there is no atonement; a sin which is the more dreadful exactly in proportion as the men and women guilty thereof are in other respects, in character, and bodily and mental powers, those whom for the sake of the state it would be well to see the fathers and mothers of many healthy children, well brought up in homes made happy by their presence. No man, no woman, can shirk the primary duties of life, whether for love of ease and pleasure, or for any other cause, and retain his or her self-respect.

Theodore Roosevelt, Sixth Annual Message (State of the Union) to Congress (1906)

The Roosevelts: An Intimate History

An interesting series beginning on PBS tonight:  The Roosevelts:  An Intimate History.  A seven part Ken Burns history marathon it will examine the lives of Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt and Eleanor Roosevelt.  Burns is a fairly strident liberal Democrat so it will be interesting to see if FDR and Eleanor are treated as plaster saints, or if we will sight any interesting analysis of those complex figures.

Theodore Roosevelt was a cousin of Franklin and an uncle to Eleanor.  He loomed large over their lives, Theodore acting as conservator of the drunken, suicidal Elliott, his beloved black sheep brother, the father of Eleanor, and Franklin seeking to model himself and his career after his famous fifth cousin.  Ironically, the contrasts between Theodore and Franklin are stark.  Theodore’s brand of progressive Republicanism was rejected by his party, while Franklin was successful in remodeling the Democrat party into the embodiment of the progressive nostrums of his time.  Theodore was an extremely moral man who exercised absolute fidelity to his two wives, his first wife having died on the same day as his mother.  Franklin Roosevelt was a precursor of such bounders as JFK, LBJ and Bill Clinton who exercised the moral probity of low rent Casanovas.  Theodore Roosevelt, a man made to be a war president, was president in a time of profound peace for the nation;  FDR achieved his lasting fame as commander in chief during World War II.  Theodore’s political career ended in defeat in 1912, the Grim Reaper preventing a possible resurgence in 1920, Roosevelt having mended political fences with the Republican Party by his constant criticism of Wilson during World War I.  FDR knew unprecedented political success as President, setting the dangerous precedent of being elected four times to the office, and only the Grim Reaper ending his grip on the White House. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

Microaggressions as Opposed to Simple Kvetching

 

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Microaggressions Klavan?  I think this is a new term for thin skinned nitwits who do not have real problems in their life to be upset about.  Go here for some additional examples.  My personal favorite:

 

A Facebook friend posted a picture of a PSA billboard encouraging parents to teach young boys to be respectful of women and the friend added her observation, as a teacher, that young men will meet such expectations if placed before them.

A male commenter added, “And the same can be said for young girls, when they are expected to act like ladies.” Made me feel defensive and unsafe, as though I only deserve respect if I adhere to a strict behavioral code that meets some dude’s definition of a “lady”. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

PopeWatch: Noise

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From the only reliable source of Catholic news on the net, Eye of the Tiber:

 

Yonkers, NY––Blake Jennings, lead guitarist at St. Therese Parish in Yonkers, New York is outraged over what he calls “years of concerts being interrupted by the Mass.” The 56-year-old accountant and father of three has played with his band at the 9:30 Folk Mass since 2009. “Our fans love us,” Jennings said, after Sunday Mass. “You can see it in their eyes…the way they droop down, lazily closing as we play…as if they’re entering into some kind of ecstasy. Or the way some in the parish are so moved they just can’t stand another moment of joy, and simply walk out…presumably to get some air.” But according to Jennings, many in the band have been becoming ever frustrated with the frequent interruptions to their concerts. “Father’s always interrupting…always trying to upstage us. First it’s a gospel, then a homily, eventually the words of consecration…there’s always something with this guy.” Jennings has recently begun a petition, and hopes to get 2,000 signatures to send to the diocese. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

The Star-Spangled Banner

Something for the weekend.  The Star-Spangled Banner.  Two centuries ago America was going through rough times.  Engaged in a War with Great Britain, Washington DC had been burned on August 24, symbolic of a war that seemed to be turning against the United States.  With the fall of Napoleon in April of 1814, the British were now free to punish the upstart Yankees who had dared challenge Great Britain.  Now the British were preparing to seize the port of Baltimore with a force of 5,000 troops and 19 warships.

British plans began to go awry from the outset.  At the battle of North Point on September 12, 3200 Maryland militia gave a good account of themselves against 4,000 British regulars inflicting 350 casualties for slightly fewer American casulaties, and retreated in good order to the fortified line around Baltimore.  Among the British killed was the commander Major General Robert Ross, a peninsular veteran of Wellington’s army, shot down by American riflemen.

On September 13, the British, now commanded by Colonel Arthur Brooke, approached Baltimore.  Estimating that the Baltimore defenses were held by 22,000 militia and 100 cannon, Brooke was unable to launch an attack unless the British fleet could enter Baltimore Harbor to beat down the American defenses by naval bombardment. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

The Farce Continues

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What was formerly known as the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade in New York City continues to demonstrate that tolerance these days is most definitely a one way street:

 

A conservative Roman Catholic group severed its 20-year ties with the New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Thursday, a week after event organizers took the unprecedented step of allowing a gay group to march under its own banner in the procession.

The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights said it pulled out of the March 2015 event because the parade committee denied an anti-abortion group from marching with banners while bending its rules to allow the gay group to do so, League President Bill Donohue said in a statement.

“For the past two decades I have been the parade’s most vocal defender of its rules,” Donohue said. “Repeatedly, I have said that gays have no more been banned from marching than pro-life Catholics have.”

Organizers for the parade, which began in 1762, were not immediately available on Thursday to respond to Donohue’s comments.

The organizers have said the parade, the largest in the nation, is open to all marchers. But gay and anti-abortion groups had been prohibited from displaying their own banners, pins or other signs with their affiliations. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

The Most Terrible Bomb That Ended The Most Terrible War

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We have discovered the most terrible bomb in the history of the world. It may be the fire destruction prophesied in the Euphrates Valley Era, after Noah and his fabulous Ark.

Harry Truman, Diary entry-July 25, 1945

 

A bit late for the annual Saint Blog’s August Bomb Follies, but here is a new Prager University video by Father Wilson Miscamble defending Harry Truman’s decision to use the atomic bombs to bring World War II to a rapid conclusion.  I will repeat here what I wrote back on July 24, 2012 after Father Miscamble made an earlier video on the subject:

Getting the annual Saint Blogs August Bomb Follies off to an early start.  Father Wilson Miscamble, Professor of History at Notre Dame, and long a champion of the pro-life cause, defends the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in the video above. The video is a summary of the conclusions reached by Father Miscamble in his recent book, The Most Controversial Decision.  Go here to read a review of the book by British military historian Andrew Roberts.  Go here to read a review of the book by Father Michael P. Orsi.  Go here to read a review by Michael Novak.

I echo the conclusions of Father Wilson Miscamble and appreciate his heroic efforts to clear up the bad history and inane American self-flagellation that has distorted a very straight-forward historical event.    I also appreciate his willingness to take the heat that his position has caused him.  Go here to read his response to a critique by Professor Christopher Tollefsen.  This portion of his response is something I have noted in regard to many critics of Truman, an unwillingness to address the consequences of not dropping the bombs:

It is when one turns to alternate courses of action that the abstract nature of Tollefsen’s criticisms becomes apparent. He criticizes Truman’s actions as immoral but offers no serious proposal regarding a viable alternative. Elizabeth Anscombe had naively suggested that Truman alter the terms of surrender, but such an approach only would have strengthened the hand of the Japanese militarists and confirmed their suicidal strategy. Tollefsen concedes that “it might well be true that greater suffering would have resulted from a refusal to use the atomic weapons in Japan,” but he backs away from any genuine discussion of what Truman should have done and of what that “greater suffering” might have involved. He provides no evidence that he has considered this matter at all. But should philosophers be able to avoid outlining what they would have done in the demanding circumstances that Truman confronted? I have always thought that moral reflection wrestles with the awful and painful realities. Tollefsen seems to want to stand above the fray, to pronounce Truman’s actions as deeply immoral and to leave it at that. It would have brought greater clarity to this discussion if he had confronted the alternatives seriously.

If Tollefsen were to engage the military issues involved in the war in the Pacific, I suspect he would be forced to raise further objections to the American military practices pursued well before the Enola Gay flew toward Hiroshima. Take as but one example the early 1945 Battle for Manila, in which approximately one hundred thousand Filipino civilians were killed. Some were killed by the Japanese, but many of this large number were killed by aggressive American air and artillery bombardments used, without particular regard for civilian casualties, as the American forces sought to dislodge an established enemy that refused to surrender. These harsh tactics could not meet Tollefsen’s criteria with regard to means. Given his unbending approach on moral absolutes, I assume he would condemn the action; but just what military means would he support in trying to defeat a foe that considered surrender the ultimate disgrace and who fought accordingly? Similarly, Tollefsen could hardly approve of the military force utilized in the taking of Okinawa and the high number of civilian casualties that resulted.

I suspect that Professor Tollefsen would be willing to say that it would be better to do absolutely nothing and to live with the consequences, if I may use that word, than to use morally questionable tactics. But the decision not to act undoubtedly would have incurred terrible consequences. Surely such inaction would carry some burden of responsibility for the prolongation of the killing of innocents throughout Asia, in the charnel house of the Japanese Empire. Is it really “moral” to stand aside, maintaining one’s supposed moral purity, while a vast slaughter is occurring at the rate of over two hundred thousand deaths a month? Isn’t there a terrible dilemma here, namely, which innocent lives to save? Would Tollefsen really have rested at peace with the long-term Japanese domination of Asia? Would that be a pro-life position?

Let me confess that I would prefer that my position had the clarity of Professor Tollefsen’s. It is a large concession to admit that Truman’s action was the “least evil.” Arguing that it was the least-harmful option open to him will hardly be persuasive to those who see everything in a sharp black-and-white focus. Yet this is how I see it. If someone can present to me a viable and more “moral way” to have defeated the Japanese and ended World War II, I will change my position. I suppose my position here has some resonance with my support for the policy of deterrence during the Cold War. I could recognize the moral flaws in the strategy but still I found it the best of the available options, and the alternatives were markedly worse. Interestingly, I think the author of Veritatis Splendor thought the same thing and he conveyed that view to the American bishops as they wrote their peace pastoral letter.

I trust that my pro-life credentials will not be questioned because I refuse to denounce Truman as a “mass-murderer.” Unlike Tollefsen, I do not think that my position initiates the unraveling of the entire pro-life garment. I believe Truman pursued the least-harmful course of action available to him to end a ghastly war, a course that resulted in the least loss of life.

Harry Truman knew that if he ordered the dropping of the bombs, a very large number of Japanese civilians would be killed.  He also knew that if he did not drop the bombs it was virtually certain that a far larger number of civilians, Allied, in territory occupied by Japan, as well as Japanese, would be killed, as a result of the war grinding on until the war ceased due to an invasion of  Japan, continued massive conventional bombing of Japan, or a continuation of the blockade which would result in mass famine in Japan.  He also knew that an invasion of Japan would have led to  massive, almost unthinkable, US military casualties, to add to the 416,000 US deaths and 670,000 US wounded that World War II had already cost.   The morality of Truman’s dropping of the bombs has been a subject of debate since 1945.  Comparatively little attention has been paid to the practical and moral consequences of Truman failing to act.  Father Miscamble is to be congratulated for examining this facet of Truman’s Dilemma. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

PopeWatch: Positive Sign

 

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A possible positive sign for the Synod on the Family.  One of the usual suspects, Father Thomas Reese, who was editor of America until he got bounced under pressure from the Vatican in 2005, has a gloomy assessment, from his heterodox point of view, at The National Catholic Reporter, of the upcoming synod:

 

The list of those attending the Synod of Bishops on the family is a disappointment to those hoping for reform of the Curia and for those who hope that the laity will be heard at the synod.

The appointment of 25 curial officials to the synod on the family is a sign that Pope Francis still does not understand what real reform of the Roman Curia requires. It makes me fear that when all is said and done, he may close or merge some offices, rearrange some responsibilities, but not really shake things up.

According to current law, moto proprio Apostolica Sollicitudo, an extraordinary synod is made up of major episcopal leaders of the Eastern Catholic churches, presidents of episcopal conferences, and three religious chosen by the Union of Superiors General. It also states, “The cardinals who head offices of the Roman Curia will also attend.” The pope may also appoint additional bishops and clerical and lay observers.

Having curial officials as members of a synod fails to recognize that they should be staff, not policymakers. They could attend the synod as staff but should not be voting members. For the most part, they should be observers and not speakers. They have all the other weeks of the year to advise the pope. This is the time for bishops from outside of Rome to make their views known.

If Francis and the Council of Cardinals is not willing to change the makeup of the Synod of Bishops, it is hard to believe they will really fix the Roman Curia. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

When the Warrior Returns

Francis Scott Key set his poem The Defense of Fort McHenry, which became The Star Spangled Banner, to the tune of the English  song To Anacreon In Heaven.  This was not the first of his poems he had done this to.  The first was his composition When the Warrior Returns which he wrote in 1805 in honor of heroes of the First Barbary Pirates war.  Here is the text of the poem: →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

Update on Iraq

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With the US now committed in the fight against ISIS, also known as ISIL, in Iraq, I would recommend that readers stay up to date by reading the frequent updates on Iraq on Strategy Page, the best English language one stop source on events in Iraq.  Here is the latest:

September 8, 2014: The American air attacks have increased and put ISIL (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant) on the defensive. There have been about 150 American air attacks since they began on August 8 th and now occur everywhere ISIL has forces in Iraq. Thus in the last month ISIL has lost control of a major dam, a refinery and major oil fields around Kirkuk. ISIL is also losing control of the oil smuggling operation it had established in Syria and western Iraq. The attack against the Haditha dam includes local Sunni tribal militiamen who have refused to join ISIL. Many Sunni tribes backed away from supporting ISIL or agreed to work with the government. Haditha is the second largest dam in the country in terms of hydroelectric power and water supply.

Kurdish troops, also backed by American air power (directed by American air controllers on the ground with the Kurds) are also taking back territory around Mosul. This is one of several operations in the last month where the Kurds have shown that, with the help of American air support, they are nearly invincible against ISIL forces. Even Iraqi Shia troops and Sunni militias have some success when aided by air support. Most ISIL fighters now accept this new battlefield reality, but some less determined ISIL gunmen are discouraged and desertions are more common. There have also been several recent instances of ISIL gunmen fleeing after the first smart bomb or missile hits, not willing to shoot it out with the oncoming Kurds. This often involves abandoning vehicles, weapons, ammo and equipment. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

Unforgettable United Flight 93

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When they got up that morning thirteen years ago the very last thing that the 33 passengers and the seven crew of United Flight 93 expected was to be engaged in a life and death struggle to retake an airliner that was headed to Washington DC as a terrorist missile.    All they expected the day to bring was a hum drum flight from Newark to San Francisco.  Just ordinary people living their lives.  Their occupations included pilot, first officer, flight attendant, an environmental lawyer, the owner of a public relations firm,  university students, a senior vice president of a medical development company, a sales representative for Good Housekeeping magazine, a manager of a US Wildlife animal refuge, an arborist, an account manager for a corporation, an ironworker, retirees, a computer programmer, a computer engineer, a lobbyist for the disabled, a real estate agent,  an executive vice president of a corporation and a free lance medical writer.  They were wives, husbands, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters, all with unique histories and lives, with little in common except that they happened to be on board Flight 93 when the world changed.

The plane took off at 8:42 AM Eastern Time.  Four terrorists had boarded amidst the other 33 passengers.  The terrorists began to hijack the plane at 9:28 AM, soon after both the hijacked airliners had struck the Twin Towers in New York City, and just brief minutes before a fourth airliner was hijacked in Washington and slammed into the Pentagon.  At 9:28:17 AM a member of the cockpit crew shouted “Mayday! Mayday!” over the radio, with sounds of violence in the background.  35 seconds later someone in the cockpit shouted over the radio, “Mayday!  Get out of here!  Get out of here!”

By 9:31 AM the terrorists were in control of the cockpit.  They informed the passengers that they were in control of the plane and falsely told them they had a bomb.  Now began the final 30 minutes of Flight 93.

Passengers and crew during these final 30 minutes made 35 airphone calls and two cell phone calls.  They quickly learned of the other hijacked planes that had been flown into the Twin Towers.

Passenger Jeremy Glick managed to reach his wife.  He told her that the passengers voted whether to try to take back the plane and decided that they were going to attempt it.  He retained his sense of humor telling his wife that he still had his butter knife from the meal that had been served on board the plane.  Before he and the other passengers attacked the hijackers he wished her and their daughter a happy life, a clear indication that he did not expect to survive the effort to retake the plane.

Flight Attendant Sandra Bradshaw called her husband and told him that she was boiling water to throw on the hijackers.

Passenger Thomas Burnett, Jr. called his wife and she told him about the other planes that had hit the Twin Towers.  He called her back after their first conversation and told her:  “We’re going to take back the plane.  We can’t wait for the authorities. I don’t know what they could do anyway. It’s up to us. I think we can do it.”

“What do you want me to do?” Deena, his wife, asked him.

“Pray, Deena,” he said “Just pray.”

He ended the phone call by telling his wife:  “I know we’re all going to die – there’s three of us who are going to do something about it. I love you honey.”

Burnett was a devout Catholic.  He began attending daily mass in 1998.  When his wife asked him why he was doing this he told her:  ‘I feel like God is calling me to do something, and I don’t know what it is. But I know it’s going to have a great impact on a lot of people.’ He said, ‘The reason I’ve been going to daily Mass is because I feel like if I can be closer to God, then I’ll know what his plan is for me.'” →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

Dies Irae

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DIES IRAE

Day of wrath, day that will dissolve the world into burning coals, as David bore witness with the Sibyl.

How great a tremor is to be, when the judge is to come briskly shattering every (grave).

A trumpet sounding an astonishing sound through the tombs of the region drives all (men) before the throne.

Death will be stunned and (so) will Nature, when arises (man) the creature responding to the One judging.

The written book will be brought forth, in which the whole (record of evidence) is contained whence the world is to be judged.

Therefore when the Judge shall sit, whatever lay hidden will appear; nothing unavenged will remain.

O Thou, God of Majesty, nourishing brilliance of the Trinity, join us with the Blessed.

What am I the wretch then to say? what patron I to beseech? when scarcely the just (man) be secure.

King of tremendous Majesty, who saves those-to-be-saved free, save me, Fount of piety.

Remember, faithful Jesus, because I am the cause of your journey: do not lose me on that day.

Thou has sat down as one wearied seeking me, Thou has redeemed (me) having suffered the Cross: so much labor let it not be lost.

Just judge of the avenging-punishment, work the gift of the remission (of sins) before the Day of the Reckoning.

I groan, as the accused: my face grows red from (my) fault: spare (this) supplicant, O God.

O Thou, God of Majesty, nourishing brilliance of the Trinity, join us with the Blessed.

Thou who forgave Mary [the sinful woman], and favorably heard the (good) thief, hast also given me hope.

My prayers are not worthy, but do Thou, Good (God), deal kindly lest I burn in perennial fire.

Among the sheep offer (me) a place and from the goats sequester me, placing (me) at (Thy) right hand.

After the accursed have been silenced, given up to the bitter flames, call me with the blest.

Kneeling and bowed down I pray, My heart contrite as ashes: Do Thou {, my End,} care for my end.

That sorrowful day, on which will arise from the buring coals Man accused to be judged: therefore, O God, do Thou spare him.

Faithful Lord Jesus, grant them rest. Amen.

O Thou, God of Majesty, nourishing brilliance of the Trinity, join us with the Blessed. Amen.

But Is It Art?

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When the flush of a newborn sun fell first on Eden’s green and gold,  
Our father Adam sat under the Tree and scratched with a stick in the mold;  
And the first rude sketch that the world had seen was joy to his mighty heart,  
Till the Devil whispered behind the leaves: “It’s pretty, but is it Art?”  
  
Wherefore he called to his wife and fled to fashion his work anew—
The first of his race who cared a fig for the first, most dread review;  
And he left his lore to the use of his sons—and that was a glorious gain  
When the Devil chuckled: “Is it Art?” in the ear of the branded Cain.  
  
They builded a tower to shiver the sky and wrench the stars apart,  
Till the Devil grunted behind the bricks: “It’s striking, but is it Art?”
The stone was dropped by the quarry-side, and the idle derrick swung,  
While each man talked of the aims of art, and each in an alien tongue.  
  
They fought and they talked in the north and the south, they talked and they fought in the west,
Till the waters rose on the jabbering land, and the poor Red Clay had rest—  
Had rest till the dank blank-canvas dawn when the dove was preened to start, 
And the Devil bubbled below the keel: “It’s human, but is it Art?”  
  
The tale is old as the Eden Tree—as new as the new-cut tooth—  
For each man knows ere his lip-thatch grows he is master of Art and Truth;  
And each man hears as the twilight nears, to the beat of his dying heart,  
The Devil drum on the darkened pane: “You did it, but was it Art?” 
  
We have learned to whittle the Eden Tree to the shape of a surplice-peg,  
We have learned to bottle our parents twain in the yolk of an addled egg,  
We know that the tail must wag the dog, as the horse is drawn by the cart;  
But the Devil whoops, as he whooped of old: “It’s clever, but is it Art?”  
  
When the flicker of London’s sun falls faint on the club-room’s green and gold, 
The sons of Adam sit them down and scratch with their pens in the mold—  
They scratch with their pens in the mold of their graves, and the ink and the anguish start  
When the Devil mutters behind the leaves: “It’s pretty, but is it art?”  
  
Now, if we could win to the Eden Tree where the four great rivers flow,  
And the wreath of Eve is red on the turf as she left it long ago,
And if we could come when the sentry slept, and softly scurry through,  
By the favor of God we might know as much—as our father Adam knew.

Rudyard Kipling

PopeWatch: Rejoice, Arise and Persevere

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Pope Francis sends a message of hope to the Church in Cuba:

 

His Excellency Dionisio Guillermo Garcia Ibanez
Metropolitan Archbishop of Santiago de Cuba
President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Cuba

Vatican, 8 September 2014

Dear Brother:

A few days ago, the venerated image of Our Lady of Charity of El Cobre was placed in the Vatican Gardens. Its presence constitutes a moving reminder of the affection and vitality of the pilgrim Church of those luminous lands of the Carribbean which, for mor than four centuries, has addressed the Mother of God with that beautiful title. From the mountains of El Cobre, and now from the See of Peter, that small and blessed figure of Mary magnifies the souls of those who invoke her with devotion, as She leads us to Jesus, her divine Son.

Today as we fervently celebrate the feast of Mary Most Holy, la Virgen Mambisa¸ I join all Cubans who set their eyes on her Immaculate Heart to pray for favors, to commend to her their loved ones and to imitate her in her humility and devotion to Christ, of whose disciples she was the first and greatest.

Every time I read the Sacred Scriptures in the passages that speak of Our Lady, three words stand out to me. I would like to focus on them in order to invite the pastors and faithful of Cuba to put them into practice.

The first is rejoice. It was the first word the Archangel Gabriel addressed to the Virgin. “Rejoice, full of grace, the Lord is with you” (Lk 1:28). The life of she who has discovered Jesus is filled with such great interior joy that nothing or no one can take it from her. Christ gives to his own the necessary strength to not be sad or overwhelmed by thinking about the problems that cannot be solved. Sustained by this truth, the Christian does not doubt that which is done with love engenders serene joy, the sister of that hope which breaks the wall of fear and opens the doors to a future of promise. “I am Our Lady of Charity,” was what the three Johns read on the tablet that was floating in the Bay of Nipe. How beautiful it would be if all Cubans, especially the young, could say the same: ‘I am a man or woman of charity:” I live to truly love, and thus not be trapped in the toxic spiral of eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth. What joy is felt by one who authentically loves, through daily acts, and who is not among those who are full of empty words that are carried away by the wind.

The second word is arise. With Jesus in her womb, St. Luke says Mary arose and went with haste to serve her cousin Elizabeth, who in her old age was with child (cf. Lk 1:39-45). She fulfilled the will of God placing herself at the disposition of whoever needed her. She did not think of herself, she overcame all setbacks and gave of herself to others. The victory is for those who arise again and again without being discouraged. If we imitate Mary, we cannot just do nothing and merely complain, or perhaps pass the buck on to others for something that is our responsibility. Its not about doing great things but about doing them with tenderness and mercy. Mary was always with her people looking out for the little ones. She knew loneliness, poverty and exile, and she learned to create fraternity and to make her home in whatever place good would germinate. We implore her to make us poor in spirit, free of all pride, and to grant us a pure heart that sees God in the faces of the disadvantaged and patience that does not shrink from the difficulties of life.

The third word is persevere. Mary, who had experienced God’s goodness, proclaimed the great things He had done for her (cf Lk 1:46-55). She did not trust in her own strength, but in God, whose love has no end. For this reason she remained with her Son, whom everyone had abandoned; she prayed without failing together with the apostles and the other disciples, lest they lose their soul (cf. Acts 1:14). We too are called to persevere in the love of God and to persevere in loving the others. In this world, in which eternal values are discarded and all is mutable, in which triumphs are used and thrown away, in which people seem to have a fear of lifelong commitments, the Virgin encourages us to be men and women constant in good works, maintaining his words, which are always faithful. And this is because we trust in God and we place in Him the center of our live and of those whom we love.

We are to have joy, and share it with those around us. Lift up your heart and do not succumb in the face of adversities, persevere in the way of good; tirelessly helping those oppressed by sorrows and afflictions: these are the important lessons taught to us by Our Lady of Charity of El Cobre, useful both for today and for tomorrow. In her maternal hands I place the pastors, religious communities, and faithful of Cuba, so that She might encourage you in your evangelizing commitments and in your will to make love the foundation of society. Thus you will not be lacking in a joy for life, a soul for service, and perseverance in good works.

To the children of the Church in Cuba I ask, please, pray for me, as I am in need of it.

May Jesus bless you, and the Blessed Virgin care for you forever.

Fraternally,

Francis →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

Prisoner of Fort McHenry

 

Francis Key Howard

 

Forty-seven years after he penned the Star-Spangled Banner, and eighteen years after his death, a grandson of Francis Scott Key, Francis Key Howard, found himself a prisoner in Fort McHenry.  The editor of the Baltimore Exchange, and a Confederate sympathizer, Howard was imprisoned for his vigorous editorial protesting the suspension by the Lincoln administration of the writ of habeas corpus and the arrest of the mayor and city council of Baltimore by the Lincoln administration.  Howard would be held for fourteen months in various Union prisons until his release.

On September 14, 1861 he looked out from his prison cell in Fort McHenry at the flag waving in the breeze.  He later wrote down his reflections at that moment: →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

PopeWatch: UN of Religions

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Well, PopeWatch has heard worse ideas, but this one is definitely in the running:

Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said Francis, who visited the Middle East in May, did not make “any decision or personal commitment” after listening to Peres’ proposal.

The former Israeli leader outlined his idea for a new world body in an interview with the Italian Catholic magazine Famiglia Cristiana, hours ahead of his meeting with the pope.

“In the past, the majority of wars were motivated by the idea of nationhood. Today, instead, wars are sparked above all with the excuse of religion,” Peres said.

“Now, given the fact that the United Nations has had its day, what is needed is an Organisation of United Religions, a U.N. of religions. It would be the best way to combat these terrorists who kill in the name of faith because the majority of people are not like them …,” he said.

Islamic State, which has declared an Islamic Caliphate in areas it controls in Syria and Iraq, has driven tens of thousands of Christians and members of the Yazidi religious minority from their homes. They have killed two American journalists.

“People who shoot the most these days, nearly always say they are doing it in God’s name,” Peres said. What is needed is an unquestionable moral authority that says in a strong voice ‘No, God does not want this and does not permit it’,”.

Peres, who gave no details on how the organisation of world religions would be formed or its representatives chosen, also said in the interview he believed Pope Francis should head it because “he is perhaps the only leader who is truly respected”. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

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